So I see many of you tried to answer, and I am surprised some of you were so close! Since none of you answered all perfectly, and there seemed to be a high level of interest in this topic, I will explain the answers to you below.
YES! Egg shells provide good digestive grit for compost worms, but the worms will only eat the shells if they are crushed into fine pieces. The eggshell pieces are also a source of calcium for the finished compost.
YES! Lint from the dryer and even from vacuum cleaners can be added safely to your compost pile. Try to avoid using synthetic dryer sheets, to avoid transferring chemicals to your compost, but lint made of mostly organic fibers like cotton and wool (a ‘brown’ or carbon source), and even the pet hair sucked up in the vacuum, is a-ok for health compost.
3. Pet Waste
NO! Avoid adding waste from dogs and cats, such as feces or soiled cat litter, to your compost pile, especially if you plan to use the compost for a vegetable garden. Like human excrement, which you should also never compost at home, pet waste can contain parasites, bacteria, germs, or pathogens that are harmful to humans.
4. Coffee Grounds
YES! Nitrogen-rich coffee grounds are a great addition to a compost pile, and even for mulching plants in your garden. Even the paper filters that you brew coffee in can be composted. Tea leaves also make for good compost material, as do tea bags, strings, and paper tags–just avoid the metal staples and plastic-coated or nylon bags, which won’t break down.
NO! Dairy products like cheese, milk, butter, and yogurt don’t break down quickly in a passively managed home compost pile due to a high fat content. They create odor problems and attract rodents, flies, and other pests to your compost pile.
6. Citrus Fruit
NO! Due to their high concentration of oils, citrus fruits can take years to decompose in a compost pile. What’s more, the worms in worm farm composting systems will not eat citrus, and the high acid content can upset the balance of your compost pile.
YES! Hay, straw, or even wood chips can be a valuable source of nutrients for your compost pile. Layering these drier materials with the wetter ones from your kitchen or garden clippings also helps to maintain balance in the pile, and can help to keep out air, which contributes to a better environment for decomposition.
8. Meat and Fish
NO! Meat and fish take a long time to break down, can contribute to unpleasant odors, and attract unwanted pests to your compost heap. Best to avoid tossing them in the compost.
9. Diseased Plants
NO! Plants ridden with disease or insects do not belong in compost that you intend to use in your garden, as diseases and insects may survive and be transferred to healthy plants. Weeds can be composted if your compost pile gets hot enough, but be sure to dry them out first by laying them in the sun.
10. Fruits and Vegetables
YES! Most fruits and vegetables break down quickly and contribute to soil health. Some fruits, like citrus, take a long time to decompose and should be avoided in a home compost pile. Denser organic waste, like corn cobs, should be shredded for faster decomposition.
11. Charcoal Ashes
NO! Ashes from coal or charcoal contain chemicals that can harm plants–not to mention grease drippings from the grill that can attract pests.
So how did you do? Looks like a few of you did good!!
Here is a list of what NOT to put in.
Any meat or dairy products
Anything cooked including vegetables (these attract rats and flies)
Oils (such as vegetable oil)
Dog and cat feces (including the litter from a tray)
Any plants which have been treated with chemicals
Again, thanks to American Progress for providing these answers. Happy Composting!
Filed under: compost, Debate, products | Tagged: answers, Charcoal Ashes, Cheese, Cirtus Fruit, Coffee Grounds, composting, Diseased Plants, Eggshells, Hay, lint, Meat and Fish, Pet Waste | 6 Comments »